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FEBS J. 2008 Oct;275(20):5139-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06645.x. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Metabolic fate of L-lactaldehyde derived from an alternative L-rhamnose pathway.

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Institute of Advanced Energy, Kyoto University, Japan.


Fungal Pichia stipitis and bacterial Azotobacter vinelandii possess an alternative pathway of L-rhamnose metabolism, which is different from the known bacterial pathway. In a previous study (Watanabe S, Saimura M & Makino K (2008) Eukaryotic and bacterial gene clusters related to an alternative pathway of non-phosphorylated L-rhamnose metabolism. J Biol Chem283, 20372-20382), we identified and characterized the gene clusters encoding the four metabolic enzymes [L-rhamnose 1-dehydrogenase (LRA1), L-rhamnono-gamma-lactonase (LRA2), L-rhamnonate dehydratase (LRA3) and l-2-keto-3-deoxyrhamnonate aldolase (LRA4)]. In the known and alternative L-rhamnose pathways, L-lactaldehyde is commonly produced from l-2-keto-3-deoxyrhamnonate and L-rhamnulose 1-phosphate by each specific aldolase, respectively. To estimate the metabolic fate of L-lactaldehyde in fungi, we purified L-lactaldehyde dehydrogenase (LADH) from P. stipitis cells L-rhamnose-grown to homogeneity, and identified the gene encoding this enzyme (PsLADH) by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-quadruple ion trap-time of flight mass spectrometry. In contrast, LADH of A. vinelandii (AvLADH) was clustered with the LRA1-4 gene on the genome. Physiological characterization using recombinant enzymes revealed that, of the tested aldehyde substrates, L-lactaldehyde is the best substrate for both PsLADH and AvLADH, and that PsLADH shows broad substrate specificity and relaxed coenzyme specificity compared with AvLADH. In the phylogenetic tree of the aldehyde dehydrogenase superfamily, PsLADH is poorly related to the known bacterial LADHs, including that of Escherichia coli (EcLADH). However, despite its involvement in different L-rhamnose metabolism, AvLADH belongs to the same subfamily as EcLADH. This suggests that the substrate specificities for L-lactaldehyde between fungal and bacterial LADHs have been acquired independently.

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